Friday, September 25, 2009

500 Tiny Hats for Infant Mortality Awareness!

I spoke to Claudia Booker of DC Birthing Hands on Wednesday to find out how the hat project is going. She was leaving one birth and was on her way to another, but she told me that she has received 500 hats so far. She did mention that many of them were far too big for the tiny newborns whose heads are often the size of an orange, so she is going to donate the bigger hats to the local childrens hospital.

Here are the hats that I have completed so far:

You all were so generous in knitting up these little hats to warm the heads of our tiniest neighbors. I plan to continue to knit these hats because she is giving them to the new mothers when their babies are born.

I want to thank everyone who participated in the contest. When we figure out who the winner is, I will post it here.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Infant Mortality Awareness Project Update

I've been talking up the contest to encourage my readers to knit up a bunch of baby caps for the 'Heads Up on Infant Mortality' project. The goal of this project is to raise awareness about the high infant mortality rate in this country. The hats will be presented at a special event and there will be one hat for each newborn who died last year. The caps will then be donated to new moms for their new babies.

Two generous Ravelers, Michelle and Katharine have kicked in with a generous donation of two skeins of everyone's favorite Cascade 220 in purple and pink, and a skein of recycled silk. Here is a picture from the color card:

I have knit ten baby caps so far and my friend Claire has crocheted ten caps, but she is not participating in the contest. I just want to remind everyone that the project deadline is looming. The hats need to be delivered to Birthing Hands of DC by Friday, September 18th, so if you are working on some hats and want to take part in the contest, please send them in and let me know how many you made.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Announcing a Contest to Encourage Donations to the 'Heads Up for Infant Mortality' Project in D.C.

OK, so I think I might have gotten just a teensy bit obsessed with this 'Heads Up for Infant Mortality' project. I'm thinking it's because I love babies so much and I really can't believe that in Washington, D.C.--our nation's capitol, the rate of infant mortality is like that of a third world country! (or should I say developing nation) Anyway, I'm working on my fifth little baby cap since I heard about the project last week. I wrote a blog post about it last week, and I have been knitting the caps in public and telling everyone who will listen about the project.

So, I'm doing my part to raise awareness. Now I want to inspire you all to take some action. The only thing of value that I have right now to give away is my time. I have decided to create a contest where I will give 1 hour of knitting instruction to the person who donates the most baby caps to this project. I am an expert knitter with about 30 years of experience. I have taught knitting classes at the Knit-Out on the National Mall, and several other venues over the years. My specialties include lace and socks, but I can teach you pretty much anything you'd like to learn about knitting. I usually charge $40. per hour for private instruction, so that's the value of this prize.

In order to win, knit up as many infant caps as you can between now and September 15, 2009. Take a photo of the caps before you send them off to Claudia, and send it to me. When she verifies with me that she has indeed received your caps, I will contact you right away to schedule your lesson. The lesson must be taken between the end of September and December 1, 2009.

Keep those pointy sticks clicking and whip up some caps for the tiny babies and you could get a free, private lesson in the bargain. Go to for the free hat patterns. These hats take me about an hour to whip up. I hear that crocheting them is even faster.

Here's where to send them:

Birthing Hands, D.C.
106 Michigan Avenue, NE #D-44
Washington, DC 20017

birthinghandsdc (AT)

You can reach me at:
ebb567 (AT)

If you plan to participate, please leave a comment and let me know. Thanks in advance for all that you are doing to help our tiniest citizens have a healthy start in this world.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Heads Up on Infant Mortality: Knit a Baby Cap to Raise Awareness About Infant Mortality

As an African American mother of three healthy girls the issue of infant mortality in the Black community is one that concerns me greatly. I was perusing the dc/md/va fiber arts group on and I saw this article about the alarming rate of infant mortality for minority infants in the DC/MD/VA area.

I was glad to step in and help with the "Caps to the Capital" program that had the goal of knitting thousands of infant caps to keep newborns warm in developing countries. It was a way of raising awareness about infant mortality in developing countries, but when I heard about how many newborns are dying here in the DC area I jumped at the chance to do my part to raise awareness and get involved.

Please join me and knit up a few hats to help raise awareness about infant mortality in urban areas, and then the hats will be donated to newborns in local hospitals.

Here is the article with all of the details about the project.

“Heads Up on Infant Mortality”.

This project is to promote public awareness regarding the huge numbers of babies who do not reach their first birthday by knitting or crocheting infant hats in remembrance of them. This project is being done in Chicago, Florida, New Mexico, Richmond Virginia, and DC by me. We hope to present these infant hats to our local elected officials during the last week in September. At the end of the public awareness project the DC hats will be given to infants as “Going Home” gifts when they live the local NICU units. We need as many infant hats as we can get!!!!

A client of mine told me how her heart was touched by the hats and blankets her preemie twin daughter received as a gift when they left the Washington Hospital Center NICU.

The patterns are on my web site Infant hats should be sent to me by September 15th. Recently WPFW Radio did an interview on this project and I hope to get more press attention.

I need help getting these infant hats made by the September 15th deadline. More would be better. I would like to flood local NICUs with these hats as “Going Home” gifts of their babies.

Can you help spread the word and get folks knitting and crocheting?

Claudia Booker,

Did you Know?

In the District of Columbia during 2004 - 2006:

Live Births:

Of the live births, 57.9% were African American, 25.4% were white, 14.1% were Hispanic, 2.2% were Asian, and .1% where Native American.

In 2005, there were 109 infants who died before reaching their first birthdays. Of that number 17.2% were African American, 7.2% were Hispanic and 3.4% were white. African American babies were 5 times more likely as white babies to die during their first year.

Pre Term Births:

In 2006, 16% of the infants born (1, 3860) were born preterm.

During 2004 – 2006, preterm birth rates were highest for African American infants (18.5%), followed by Hispanics (13.6%), Asians (11.0%) and whites (9.7%). African American babies were twice as likely to be born preterm as white babies.
Low Birth Weight:

In 2006 1 of 9 babies (11.5% of the live births) were low birth weight.

Low birth weight rates were highest for Native American infants (21.7%), followed by African American infants (13.2%), Hispanic infants (13.6%), Asians (9.4%) and whites (6.9%). Native American babies were three times as likely to be born preterm as white babies.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Maryland Sheep & Wool Festival 2009--Big Fun Despite the Rain

On Saturday I went to the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival. This is my fifth year in a row attending this festival. It's my way of celebrating my birthday in a big way. It's a hug collection of some of my favorite things all in one place. I also enjoy catching up with friends that I rarely get to see.

This year was fun because I met a new friend. Loren and I met online on and we've been emailing back and forth because we found that we share a lot in common. She caught a bus from Philadelphia to come down to the festival and we met at the front gate. We walked around the festival grounds shopping and chatting and having a great time despite the off and on drizzle and overcast sky.

We stopped at the meetup at the Rabbit Barn and caught up with our Ravelry peeps. For some reason I did not really take any pictures on Saturday, but when I got home I took pictures of the hand-dyed, fingering weight Merino yarn from Maple Creek Farm. I will use it to make a small summer lacy shawl. The greens, yellows and blues just reminded me of spring, so I had to have it.

The last thing that we did was watch the sheepdog trials, which was just fascinating. Those little dogs are so smart the sheep just don't stand a chance.

Meeting up with Loren was just delightful, and the festival was a fun way to lead up to my birthday. Once again, CiCi took some awesome pictures of both me and Loren and all the other cool Ravelry peeps and posted them on their blog, 2Sistahs Knit Together.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

I'm Dreaming About Flower Child

It all started very innocently. I am halfway through knitting a Brea bag for my mom for Mother's day. I misplaced the pattern and went to the Berrocco site to print off another copy when something caught my little eye. There was a snippet of a photo of Norah Gaughan's Flower Child knit top and it took my breath away. I clicked on the button and saw the full photo of this lovely sweater. This is going to be my Spring into summer knitting project. I just love Norah Gaughan's designs and this one's a peach. I do love the soft green color, but I might choose one of the pinks or coral colors. The Pure Pima cotton yarn from Berrocco is $6. per skein at Webs, so this will be a $60-70. little top. Quite a splurge, but I can tell already that this is going to be a favorite project.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Countdown to Maryland Sheep and Wool!!!

As a knitter living in the Mid-Atlantic region of the U.S., nothing (um, not many things) thrills me more than the anticipation leading up to the annual Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival. The MD Sheep and Wool is the largest fiber festival in the eastern U.S. On the first weekend in May each year vendors, farmers and crafts people all gather at the Howard County Fairgrounds and collectively celebrate our love for all things related to wool (and other fibers), knitting, spinning, crochet and other fiber-related crafty pursuits. This will be my sixth consecutive year of attending this festival. Obsessed knitter and yarn addict that I am, these are my high holy days--especially because the fest usually ends up being on my birthday--as it is this year. I am already squirreling away some cash so that I will be able to buy some new yarn. I need to go through my queue in to see which projects I will look for yarn for.

One of my favorite parts of my annual pilgrimage to the festival is the impromptu picnic lunch that we have on the lawn. A group of us local D.C. knitters usually all meet together at that spot and eat our lunches, rest form the morning's excitement and show and share the purchases we've made, and plan our strategy for going after the other items on our 'must have' lists.

Last year I attended the Ravelry and met up with a bunch of peeps that I've only ever corresponded with online. Cici took pics and you can see them on her blog.

I live a pretty chilled-out life that's largely devoid of excitement, but I am excited about driving up to Howard county, getting stuck in the looooong line of traffic, hanging out with my peeps--and oh yeah, buying lots and lots of yarn. See you there!

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Making More Mittens!

When this current cold snap courtesy of an Alberta Clipper was forecast and I heard that we'd be enjoying temps close to zero, when our typical temps here in the D.C. area are usually in the mid to upper 30's to low 40's in the winter, I knew that my girls would be needing some mittens to keep their little fingers warm.

For Jordan, I found a small amount of pretty purple wool, which was enough for the cuffs, and a ball of leftover Noro Kureyon in pinks and purples for the hand. I held a strand of Baby Ull to add extra warmth and softness to the Noro, which tends to be a bit scratchy. I knit her up a pair of basic mittens and they came out cute. Here she is showing them off:

For Leila, I used some leftover Knitpicks worsted superwash Merino the Camel Heather colorway, and some random green worsted yarn to add stripes to the cuff. In my hurry to finish them in time for her to wear them to school (don't ask me why I didn't make her mittens as well) I've not yet taken a picture of her gloves, so I'll add one later.

Now I'm working on a pair of mittens using Norah Gaughn's Target Wave Mittens pattern that was included as a book excerpt in the Fall 2006 issue of Interweave Knits. I'm using Lemongrass Heather Swish Superwash from Knitpicks, and some chocolate brown Lion Brand worsted weight wool.

I have enough of the Noro left over to make another pair of these mittens, so I'll cast on for them when I'm done with the second mitten. These will both be donated along with some scarves and hats that I have made to a homeless shelter.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Saturday Knitting Club

This past Saturday afternoon was the first meeting of the Saturday knitting group at the Eastern Market branch of the library. We began because the librarian is a knitter, and one afternoon a few weeks back a knitter friend of mine and I ran into each other in Eastern Market and decided to go sit and knit at the library while we waited until it was time to pick our girls up from school. The librarian brought her knitting and came over and sat with us and we cooked up the idea to have a regular group on Saturday afternoons.

Today when I arrived there was already a mom there with her daughter knitting a scarf for her doll, and an older woman working on an afghan square. Jordan was still trying to get the hang of the knit stitch, and Leila was browsing through the 'One Skein Wonders' book trying to decide what to knit. She settled on a ruffled scarf and went to work. I was working on a "Sweet Mary Jane' lacy bed jacket using lace weight yarn and size 6 circular needles. When the ladies saw me knitting and noticed that I was using the continental style or method of forming the stitches, they asked me to do an impromptu continental knitting lesson.

One of the reasons that I sort of drifted away from the knitting groups that I used attend regularly, is because I usually ended up teaching for most of the time and I did not get to work on my project. I like attending knitting groups for the fellowship of gathering together with other who share my love of knitting. But when I end up in essence becoming the teacher--fixing people's mistakes, teaching new techniques, answering questions it begins to feel too much like work. Even as I write this it sound whiney because I really love teaching. If it were a structured class and I had the intention of teaching, then of course it would not bother me at all.

We had a lovely time knitting and laughing and chatting inside while the cold rain and wind blew outside. We all talked about our plans for inauguration weekend--a time that will change all of our lives here in D.C. and around the country. We mostly agreed that we were both nervous and excited about what was going to happen. I'm thinking that change is definitely coming to D.C. and I can't wait to see it.